Recently crowned world time trial silver medalist Taylor Phinney will be on the hunt for stage wins when he leads the BMC Racing Team from the front at the 2012 Tour of Beijing next week.
For the first time since his narrow five second time trial eclipse at the world championships in the Netherlands, the American will meet Omega Pharma – Quick Step’s Tony Martin who returns to China as the reigning Tour of Beijing champion and current time trial world champion.
With the race against the clock removed from the 2012 edition the pair will not have the distinct advantage over the peloton as per the inaugural edition, but Phinney will draw from his strong Classics-style racing form to benefit from the additional mountain terrain.
That said, Phinney will not be the only card that BMC has to play in Beijing.
The team’s seven-rider roster for the season-ending WorldTour race also includes Vuelta a España stage winner Steve Cummings.
Cummings finished fourth in last year’s inaugural edition of the race, which begins next Tuesday at Tiananmen Square and comprises five road stages.
Improving on that performance, Cummings said, will be difficult. “There’s no time trial this time and that was a difference-maker last year.”
“I’ve also been pretty tired since the worlds so I think it’s going to be a hard race for me with the travel and such. But it’s the same for everyone.”
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri said Mathias Frank is another option for the overall GC while Phinney and Klaas Lodewyck will have their eyes on stage wins.
“We’ll take things day-by-day when it comes to the stages, but always keep an eye on the overall,” Sciandri said.
Frank and Swiss national road champion Martin Kohler also competed in the BMC Racing Team’s season-opening race, the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia in January.
“The first day will be a flat day with a sprint. We have Phinney and Lodewyck for that. The next stage will be harder so that’s when we will start to see what we can do on the overall classification. Unfortunately for us, there’s no time trial this year,” Sciandri added.
“It’s been a long season,” Frank said. “But this will be a nice race to finish it out.”
The 2012 Tour of Beijing will be held from the 9th to the 13th of October as the last event on the UCI WorldTour calendar. Starting from the historic Tiananmen Square the five-day Tour will also feature some of China’s top tourist attractions including the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Great Wall.